St. Patrick’s Church, Ferguson’s Falls, Lanark County

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In 1856 St. Patrick’s church was erected in Ferguson’s Falls, on land donated by the Quinn family. The lumber for the church construction was cut from the farm of William Scanlan.

It is one of the oldest Catholic missions in Ontario, and two of its own members joined the priesthood:  Father Michael Stafford, son of pioneer Tobias Stafford and Elizabeth McGarry entered the priesthood in 1858.  Also Reverend Edmund Quinn, son of John Quinn and Anna Byrnes entered the priesthood in 1947.

Before St. Patrick’s was built, the local Roman Catholics had to travel to St. John’s Church in Perth, which was a long, difficult journey by horse and buggy, particularly in the long, harsh winter months.

This photograph above shows my brother Roger Stafford entering the grounds of the cemetery at St. Patrick’s, July 4th 2012.  Many of the early Roman Catholic pioneers are buried in this cemetery.  Stafford, Richards, Quinn, McGarry, Foley, Holliger, McKittrick, Blair, Carberry, Kehoe, McCaffrey, to name a few.

 

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The Tale of the Seven Bachelors

There were seven young bachelors who left Ireland at the same time, and during their voyage across the ocean they swore that they would stick together, and help each other in their new country.  They pledged to stay only if they could carve out a life for themselves, and if not, they swore they would all leave together and return to Ireland.

The Irish bachelors were Patrick Quinn, John Quinn, James Carberry, William Scanlan, Terrence Doyle, John Cullen and James Power.

The bachelors cleared about ten acres of land about two miles from Ferguson Falls, and lived together in a rough log cabin that they had built together.  They were given 200 acres of land each, in connecting sections, and each cleared their land and began to farm.  They married local girls, and started families.  The area where they lived was known as the Quinn Settlement.  The story of the Seven bachelors was passed down through the generations.

(The story of the Seven Bachelors was shared with me on two occasions by two local lads, both were raised in the area – from James ‘Jim’ Quinn in 1998, and from my cousin Thomas Stafford in 2001.  My Great Aunt Clara Richards married Tom Carberry – a descendant of one of the seven bachelors – James Carberry)

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112 Years of the St. Patrick Mission in Ferguson Falls – written in 1968

One week before Christmas, December 19th, 1968, “The Perth Courier” published an article celebrating the 112th Anniversary of St. Patrick’s Church.

 

St. Patrick's # 1

St. P 5

St P 9

St P 10

St P 11

On September 3, 1858, Father McDonagh recorded his Dedication of St. Patrick’s church in the parish register of St. John’s R.C. Church in Perth, Ontario:

Dedication of St Patrick's Church edited

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Patrick, Apostle of Ireland

The tiny country church in Ferguson Falls was “dedicated to the service of Almighty God, under the invocation of St. Patrick.”

Patrick was a 5th century Christian missionary, and is the primary patron saint of Ireland.  Early records show that Patrick was the first Bishop in Ireland, and is regarded as the founder of Christianity.  It is said that Patrick converted the Druids to Christianity by using the clover, a plant which grew in abundance all over Ireland, to explain the concept of ‘the Father’, ‘the Son’, and ‘the Holy Spirit’.

St Patrick

March 17th is known as the ‘Feast of St. Patrick’, celebrated around the world to mark the date that St. Patrick died.  The day is marked by church services, and the wearing of green to symbolize the clovers or shamrocks implemented by St. Patrick, to teach the concepts of Christianity.  Historically, the restrictions of Lent such as eating and drinking alcohol were put aside for the day, which in recent years gave way to the tradition of alcohol consumption as part of the celebration.

trinity shamrock

 

The Celtic Cross (below) was often used in the grave stones and monuments of the settlers who had come from Ireland, like those who attended St. Patrick’s Church in Ferguson Falls.

 

celtic cross

 

 

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Quinn Family of Ferguson Falls

These members of the Quinn family are direct descendants of the pioneer Quinn family who donated the land for St. Patrick’s R.C. Church

Quinn family

 

Father Michael Stafford – 

(first member of the congregation to enter the priesthood)

Father Michael Stafford

Michael Stafford was born March 1, 1832 in Drummond Township, and died November 12, 1882, age 51 at Lindsay, Ontario.  He is interred at St. Mary’s Cemetery, Lindsay, Ontario.

(Older brother to my Great-Grandfather Thomas,  Father Michael Stafford was my Great-great Uncle)

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Father Michael Stafford # 2

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Priests Who Served at St. Patrick’s Church

Ferguson Falls

Father McDonagh                          1858-1866

Rev. Dr. Chisholm                           1866-1878

Rev. John O’Connor                        1878-?

Fr. Michael O’Donoghue               ?-1889

Fr. M. O’Rourke                               1889-1907

Father Keaney                                  1907-1912

Rev. Father R.A. Carey                    1912-1925

Father Eugene O’Sullivan              1925-1928

Father Walter Whelan                    1928-1934

Father J.G. Clancy                            1934- 1941

Father Walter Healey                     1941-1947

(Fr. Healey designed the cobblestone cross that stands in the center of  St. Patrick’s Cemetery)

Father Harold Rice                            1947-1950

(following Father Rice’s death in 1950, the parish was under the charge of Rev. Brennan  for two months)

Rev. Fr. Edward Trainor                   1950-1956

Rev. Father Francis Meagher           1956-1959

(after the death of Fr. Meagher, Rev. Fr. Neal administered the parish for one month)

Rev. Fr. Joseph Healey                       1959-1967

Rev. Fr. Edward Keyes                       1967-1975

 

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Several women from the Ferguson Falls parish chose to serve the Church, at the House of Providence in Kingston, Ontario

 

House of Providence Kingston

Sister Mary Vincent

Julia Stafford 1844-1886

Julia was the daughter of pioneer Tobias Stafford and Elizabeth ‘Betsy’ McGarry Stafford. Three members of this family devoted their lives to the divine service: Rev. Father Michael Stafford, who was parish priest of Lindsay at his death in 1882, and Julia and Margaret, exemplary members of this Institute.

Julia entered the House of Providence in Jan. 1868.  She enjoyed working with children and preparing them for first communion.  She also worked to keep the wayward on the straight and narrow, and to bring the sacraments to adults whose early education had wandered from their religious duties. She taught an evening class of adults,  In the early spring each year many of these poor fellows would be prepared for Confirmation and presented to His Lordship.  To protect them against the voice of intemperance to which sailors are inevitably exposed, she would persuade them to take the “pledge” before setting off on their perilous journeys, she gained a sense of satisfaction when they pledged to keep their promise. In a work so noble Julia strongly resembled her Rev. Brother Michael Stafford, who was deservedly styled the “Apostle of Temperance in Canada.”

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Sister Mary Elizabeth

Margaret Stafford  1845-1925

Margaret Stafford

Sister Mary Elizabeth, or as she was known in the world, Margaret Stafford, was descended from a strong Irish Catholic family. Her father and mother, Tobias and Elizabeth (McGarry) Stafford, in the Township of Drummond, in the Parish of Perth. She had several brothers, one, the Reverend Michael Stafford of the Kingston diocese, and later of Peterborough, was a great temperance lecturer and won the appellation of “a second Father Matthew”. Her younger sister, Sister Mary Vincent, who entered the Community a year or more before, predeceased her several years. Like all the family Sister was of a very large build, tall and strong. Her very appearance would command respect at any time or place.

Born February 22, 1845, she entered the Novitiate at the age of 23 on November 21, 1868. She seemed very much older. She received the Holy Habit Dec. 13, 1869, and made Holy Profession May 31, 1871.

In 1888 she was given charge of the men’s department. She took complete charge of the apartment. She ruled as one having authority. There was no questioning, no back answers or insulting words would be tolerated. There was a rule to be observed and it must be followed. The time of rising and retiring had to be observed strictly.  Although she was strict, she was very kind. If anyone was sick or in trouble, she was always there to help. As a result she was loved and respected by all.

Margaret Stafford (Sister Mary Elizabeth)  passed away on St. Patrick’s Day, 1925.

Margaret Stafford obit 1925

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Sister Mary James

Theresa Quinn  1878-1949

Theresa Quinn

The former Theresa Quinn, born in Ferguson’s Falls, was one of a large family of boys and girls, including Sister Mary. Edward. She entered the Novitiate, on September 8, 1905. She served the church in Smiths Falls, Brockville and Lancaster. She was one of the original members of Rosary Hall, our first foundation in Edmonton, Alta. and spent her remaining years 1905-1949 caring for the sick at the House of Providence in Kingston.

Sister M. James was faithful at all times, devoted to her work in the care of the aged and infirm brought comfort and joy into the lives of others by her cheerful nature.

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 Sister Mary Hilda Quinn

Sister Mary Quinn

Clara Anastasia Quinn 1888-1956

Sister Mary Hilda (Clara A. Quinn), born in Ferguson’s Falls, Ontario, Educated at Lanark, taught school for one year, then entered the Novitiate of the Sisters of the House of Providence in Kingston in January of 1907, at the age of 19.  She graduated from Queen’s University in 1924 with a Bachelor of Arts. She taught school in Belleville and Chesterville for a total of 42 years, 17 of which were as the Local Superior of the Convent.  Her motto for her students, which she wrote on her chalkboard: “That they may have life and may have it more abundantly.”

Sister Mary Hilda Quinn

Rose Mary Quinn  1887-1982

Rose Mary Quinn

Sister Mary Edward (Rose Mary Quinn) was a descendent of one of the pioneer families who emigrated from Ireland in the early years of the nineteenth century and settled in Ferguson’s Falls.  Bishop MacDonell, the first Bishop of Upper Canada, first offered Mass in the Quinn home when he visited the remote missions of his large diocese. Sister Mary Edward’s parents, James Quinn and Elizabeth McNaughton, raised eleven children and three of the children were called to serve the church: Sisters Mary James and Sister Mary Edward, and a grandson, Rev. Edmund Quinn.

Rose Mary Quinn was educated in the local school, then attended Lanark High School and Ottawa Teachers’ College. She entered the Novitiate at St. Mary’s of the Lake on August 15, 1913, and taught in various schools in Portsmouth; St. John’s, Kingston; Smiths Falls; St. Mary’s, Kingston; Tweed and for thirteen years at St. Michael’s, Belleville. In 1946 she was appointed to Arnprior in Pembroke diocese, where in 1959 she completed a teaching career of almost fifty years.

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Ferguson Falls – Early Settlement

Originally known as Millford, Fergusons Falls was renamed in honor of the early settler Captain Ferguson when a post office was established there. This was the closest village to the Stafford farm on the 11th concession of Drummond, and was a source for supplies, postal services, blacksmith services, social activities, and later St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church.

Thomas McCaffrey was the first settler, arriving in 1815. McCaffrey was a good friend of Tobias Stafford and Elizabeth ‘Betsy’ (McGarry) Stafford. Thomas was one of the witnesses to their marriage ceremony in St. John’s Church in Perth. He also signed his name as witness to one of Tobias’ later land transactions, and was present at the baptisms of some of the Stafford children.

The Forces of Nature

The early settlers not only faced the challenges of clearing heavily-wooded land, building a home, and providing for their growing families; they also dealt with hot summers, and cold winters.  Some years had wet conditions, and some years they dealt with drought. As if that wasn’t enough to cope with; there were the storms…..

 

The Cyclone of June, 1888

Ferguson Falls Storm 1888 June 15 p 4

 

More on the Storm of 1888:

Ferguson Falls storm 1888 part 2 june 29 p 6

 

In the spring of 1896 there were record-high water levels that hadn’t been seen since the flooding of 1870:

 

Ferguson Falls high water April 24 18896 p.1

 

Violent thunderstorms caused damage and sometimes total destruction to homes, barns and precious livestock.  In the summer of 1897  Ferguson Falls farmer Thomas Haley nearly died trying to save his horses, when lightning struck his barn.

Ferguson Falls Haley Fire July 30 1897 p 5

 

In June of 1921 Ferguson Falls experienced a terrible heat wave, lasting more than three weeks.

Ferguson Falls heat wave July 15 1921 p 5

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Ferguson Falls Stories and Legends

The Ghost of Jimmy Whelan

James Phelan

There are conflicting stories about a logging accident in Drummond Township that took the life of Jimmy (Phelan?) Whalen.  Some say the accident took place in 1876, and some say 1878.  What can be agreed upon is that Jimmy died as a result of  trying to break up a log jam.

Log driving was a popular occupation for spry, young men, who were agile enough to leap from log to log, or to coast down the river while keeping their balance on such a precarious vessel.

A poem was written, and later sent to music, describing the ghost of Jimmy Whelan, and how he appeared to his lady-friend as she walked along the river bank.

Lost Jimmy Whelan

All alone as I strayed by the banks of the river,
Watching the moonbeams as evening drew nigh,
All alone as I rambled, I spied a fair damsel
Weeping and wailing with many a sigh.

Weeping for one who is now lying lowly,
Mourning for one who no mortal can save.
As the foaming dark water flow gently about him,
Onward they speed over young Jimmy’s grave.

She cries, “Oh, my darling, please come to me quickly,
And give me fond kisses that oft-times you gave.
You promised to meet me this evening, my darling,
So now, lovely Jimmy, arise from your grave.”

Slowly he rose from the dark, stormy waters,
A vision of beauty more fair than the sun,
Saying “I have returned from the regions of glory
To be in your dear loving arms once again.”

“Oh, Jimmy, why can’t you tarry here with me,
Not leave me alone, so distracted in pain.”
“Since death is the dagger that’s cut us asunder,
Wide is the gulf, love, between you and I.”

“One fond embrace, love, and then I must leave you;
One loving farewell, and then we must part.”
Cold were the arms that encircled about her;
Cold was the body she pressed to her heart.

Slowly he rose from the banks of the river,
Up to the heavens he then seemed to go
Leaving this fair maiden, weeping and mourning,
Alone on the banks of the river below.

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From a letter written in 1923, by Mr. Christopher Forbes, of Perth, Ontario:

“The Phelan family live in this district.  The name is pronounced ‘Whalen’, locally.  James’ brother Thomas, whom I knew intimately, died a few years ago.  Regarding the James Phalen tragedy, John Smith of Lanark Village, an old timer and singer of the ‘come all ye’ type, wrote the words which I now enclose.  He sings the Jim Whalen song with much pathos, and with that peculiar dropping off of the last word from a singing tone to a speaking voice.  This style of finishing a song is used by sailors and shanty-men.

I was fortunate in meeting an old shanty foreman, Peter McIlquham, well known on the Mississippi River for over half a century, who told me he was present at Jim Whelan’s death.

It happened 45 years ago (1878), at King’s Chute, on the Mississippi River.  Whalen was a river-man under ‘Old Quebec’, a French-Canadian whose real name was Edward Leblanc.  McIlquham was also a foreman on the river at this time.  Both rafts of longs had come out of Crotch Lake by the river-men.  McIlquham came to assist Old Quebec putting over King’s Chute.  A dangerous and difficult jam formed in the Chute.  ‘Old Quebec’, McIlquham, and Phalen were close together when the jam shifted, and precipitated Phalen into the water.”

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Like the tale itself, there are two different authors given credit for writing the song – Tim Doyle of Drummond Township, and John Smith of Lanark.”

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Stumble Inn

The infamous ‘Stumble Inn’ was one of the three hotels in Ferguson Falls, located right on the shore of the Mississippi River, and is said to be one of the oldest buildings in the village.  According to the lads who grew up in the area it was ‘the’ place to stop for a drink, before or after mass at St. Patrick’s Church.  During the week, local men often gathered there to play cards in the evening, and on the weekends, helped along by a little (or a lot) of alcohol, there was singing, dancing and fiddle-playing.  The Stumble Inn was also notorious for its fights, and it wasn’t uncommon for one or two of the lads to end up in the river before the evening was over.

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Education –

The School at Ferguson Falls

S.S. # 8  Lanark

 

The original log school house was built around 1820, replaced with another log building in 1871, which was eventually constructed with bricks.  The school remained open until 1968.  That was the year when all students of the small, one-room school houses in Lanark County were sent to larger more centralized schools.

Results of the Ferguson Falls School Exam – school year 1868-1869:

Ferguson Falls school Jan 8 1869 p 3

In the late fall of 1888 the little school at Ferguson Falls lost one of its most beloved teachers Jennie Doyle:

Ferguson Falls teacher dies Nov 16 1888 p 8

Death Certificate of Ferguson Falls teacher Jennie Doyle, age 22.

Jennie Doyle death certificate 1888

It wasn’t always easy to find a good, reliable teacher for the tiny school at Ferguson’s Falls.  Below, is an ad that was placed  in November of 1891.  My Great-grandfather, Thomas Richards, served as one of the School Trustees.

Ferguson Falls ad for teacher Nov 6 1891 p 5

 

In November of 1893, my Great Aunt Mary Stafford was hired to teach at the little school.  The article also mentions one of the Hollinger lads who had accidentally shot himself in the leg.  Apparently there were some thieves in the area stealing livestock.  The last mention is of Mary Stafford’s father Thomas driving his herd of lambs through the village, likely on his way to Carleton Place where they were put up for auction, or shipped by train across Canada or into the U.S.   Some livestock were even loaded on ships and sent overseas to England.

 

Ferguson Falls teacher Mary Stafford Nov 10 1893 p 4

Another column, from November 13, 1896, highlights some of the activities taking place at that time in the village.

Ferguson Falls news Nov 13 1896 p 5

 

The school Honour Roll – 1896

Ferguson Falls honour roll Nov. 13 1896 p 5

(mentions Vince Stafford – my Grandfather)

A news column from December of 1897 mentions teacher, Mary Kehoe, and her plans for her Christmas vacation. Also interesting is that the local businesses have decorated their storefronts for the Christmas season.  Near the end of the column is a mention of a “disgraceful scene” on the street on the previous Saturday evening, then a veiled reference which may or may not apply to one of the local Doyle lads who would have been living in the area at that time.

Ferguson Falls news Dec 24 1897 p 1

 

In February of 1898,  Sarah Ferguson was listed as the teacher at Ferguson Falls:

Ferguson Falls teachers Feb 4 1898 p 6

A porch was added to the Ferguson Falls schoolhouse in the fall of 1899

from an article printed – March 23, 1900:

Ferguson Falls School update Mar 23 1900 p 6

By 1909, Margaret Doyle was the teacher at the little school in Ferguson Falls:

Ferguson Falls teachers March 5 1909

 

Results from the Lanark Entrance Exams of 1925:

Ferguson Falls Entrance exams July 10 1925 p 1

 S.S. # 8 Lanark (also known as the Ferguson Falls School, and also known as the Quinn School)

S.S. 8 Ferguson Falls

1951 Back row: Janet Hollinger, Arthur Forrest, Charles Hollinger, John Hollinger Middle row : Marion Gilles, Brian Rothwell, Ken Ruttle Front row: Marjorie Murphy, Doris Gilles, Leonard Murphy, Bert Forrest

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Commerce

By 1857, Ferguson Falls was booming. More than 400 people lived in the village.  John Doyle was the Innkeeper, James McCaffrey was listed in the business directory as a Wagon Maker, John & M. McCaffrey were the local Blacksmiths. John Stafford, (Tobias Stafford and Elizabeth McGarry’s son) was the area Shoemaker, and would later open a shoe store in Almonte, then in Perth. There was also a sawmill, and a grist mill owned by Robert Blair and a hotel owned by Charles Hollinger.

Mississippi Cheese Factory – 1890

Ferguson Falls cheese factory 1890 June 13 p 1

 

In 1909 the first telephone line was installed to serve the community around Ferguson’s Falls.

Ferguson Falls telephone line Jan 29 1909 p g

 

The ‘Falls’ at Ferguson Falls were man-made

Robert Blair built a dam across the Mississippi River which created the ‘falls’, in order to provide power for his two mills.  As time went on, local lore tells that the water from the river backed up along the banks because of Blair’s dam, and caused flooding of the lowlands for the farmers located upstream.  Eventually the dam was taken down.

There were many issues over the years, some even resulted in legal action between residents of the area -like the case between Playfair and Blair in April of 1865:

Playfair vs Blair dam at Ferguson Falls

 

Problems with the dam continued, and several letters like the one below, were sent to the Editor of ‘The Perth Courier’ in the summer of 1870:

Ferguson Falls dam 1870

Ferguson Falls Hotels

At one time there were three hotels at Ferguson Falls to provide accommodation to travelers passing on their way to Perth or Renfrew.  The Log-Drivers who worked on the Mississippi were frequent visitors to the hotels.  It’s been said that the floor at Charles ‘Charlie’ Hollinger’s Hotel had to be replaced each year due to the Log-Drivers dancing on the wooden surface, in their spiked logging boots.

 

In 1890 Mrs. John Murray advertised her hotel for sale in the local newspapers.

Ferguson Falls hotel for sale March 7 1890 p 7

 

Social Items

Hollinger -Nagle Wedding 1875

Ferguson Falls wedding Teresa Hollinger May 7 1875 p 4

 

Teresa Hollinger Richard Nagle wedding day

Teresa Hollinger and Richard Nagle on their wedding day in April 1875

 

Hollinger sisters

Hollinger sisters of Ferguson’s Falls  – taken c. 1900 in Perth, Ontario

Left to Right:  Elizabeth Hollinger, seated.  Theresa Hollinger is standing, second from the left.  Julia Hollinger McGarry is seated, and standing at the far right is Maria Hollinger.

(daughters of Charles Hollinger and Elizabeth Cokely)

There were also three brothers –  Charles, John and Patrick

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Teresa Hollinger Nagle obit the Ottawa Journal

Theresa Hollinger Nagle – obituary from ‘The Ottawa Journal’  Friday, March 2, 1928.

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July 1897 – news from ‘the Falls’

 

 

Ferguson Falls Hollinger McGarry July 30 1897 p 1

 

McDonald-Quinn Wedding June 7, 1909

Ferguson Falls Quinn McDonald wedding June 18 1909

 

Obituary for Mrs. John Rathwell  (March 1893)

Ferguson Falls obit Rathwell Mar 24 1893 p 1

 

Murphy – Stafford Courtship Begins!

In the fall of 1893, a dance was held – ‘Murray’s Ball’ – a very successful event, and it was during this time that my grandfather’s older brother Peter Stafford began to date the lovely Miss Mary Murphy.  They would later marry, and have a large family.  Peter was a stagecoach driver, and had a little ‘taxi’ service where he transported local folks back and forth between Perth and Lanark, and places in the surrounding area.

 

Ferguson Falls Murphy Stafford courting Oct 13 1893 p 8

Closs-Vallely Wedding

In June of 1894 a lovely summer wedding took place at St. Patrick’s when Alice Closs married Anthony Vallely, ceremony performed by Father O’Rourke.

Ferguson Falls Closs and Valely wedding June 29 1894 p 8

 

Sullivan- Brady Wedding   – May 1895

Ferguson Falls Sullivan Brady wedding May 17 1895 p 8

 

Hollinger Obituary – 1906 – long-time Postmaster in Ferguson Falls

Ferguson Falls Hollinger obit Feb 2 1906 p 8

 

McGarry Obituary  – 1912 – owned the McGarry Hotel in Innisville

Ferguson Falls McGarry obit Feb 9 1912 p 1

Julia Stafford Quinn – obituary 1927

Julia Stafford Quinn Apr. 23 1927

 

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If you’re in the area…………….

St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church is set in a picturesque location, not far from the mighty Mississippi, and is a lovely spot to visit, and to reflect, on a warm, sunny day.

We remember those who came before us, stood on these very grounds, celebrated baptisms and weddings, and mourned the loss of their loved ones at the funerals held at this small country church.

It is well worth a visit for anyone with local connections, to spend some time at this historic and sacred place in Ferguson’s Falls.

 

Irish blessing

 

photo of the Quinn family:  James ‘Jim’ Quinn of Ferguson Falls
photo of Father Michael Stafford, and details of his service to the church – and excerpt from the book: “Staffords: From Ireland to Canada and Beyond” Arlene Stafford-Wilson
news clippings:  “The Perth Courier”
oral history of the Seven Bachelors and the Stumble Inn – Thomas Joseph Stafford, and James ‘Jim’ Quinn (brother of Edmund Quinn), 2nd priest from the St. Patrick’s congregation)
names and dates of the priests who served at St. Patrick’s R.C. Church – provided by Doris Quinn

 

 

 

http://www.staffordwilson.com

6 comments on “St. Patrick’s Church, Ferguson’s Falls, Lanark County

  1. J MainS says:

    I bought the log home directly beside the church last August.

    I was wondering if you had, or knew where to find the history of this house. I heard it was built in the 1830s by the Grey family, and has since then been a pub, and an art gallery. But I would like to get the whole history of the house.

    Thank you,
    J Mains

  2. Ashley Jessup says:

    Is this church open for weddings? I am getting married in a couple of years and its a scottish/ Irish wedding and it would be great if it was.

  3. Brian Sarsfield says:

    Hello Arlene, I heard a very interesting story about St Patrick’s Church Ferguson’s Falls today 3 Oct 2015, while on a historical tour of Clayton Village today. We always know there was a Roman Catholic Cemetery (cared for by Holy Name of Mary Parish – Almonte) on the 2 line of Ramsay Township near Clayton, on land settled in 1823 ish by a Peterson Robinson Settler from Ireland named Michael McGoran, who was a Catholic. Locally people have thought that since this cemetery was filled, then another one Highway 29 is now in use. It seems that there was also a church beside this cemetery. This church was named St Patrick’s and in the early 1850’s it was moved to Ferguson’s Falls. Might you know the reasons why it was moved to Ferguson’s Falls? Certainly at the time these Catholics who lived above Clayton, created a floating bridge as a short cut in the 1850’s to across the narrows between Clayton Lake and Taylor Lake, so they to attend Mass in Ferguson’s Falls.

    • Hello Brian – I hadn’t heard of St. Patrick’s church being moved. My ancestors from County Wexford, Ireland attended St. Patrick’s, continuing down to my father who attended with his parents. It was built on land donated by the Quinn family and was mainly to accommodate people who had been taking horse and buggy, or walking to St. John’s in Perth. Also, it would not have been in the same parish as Almonte. It was established under the same parish as St. John’s and later, under the same parish as Sacred Heart of Jesus in Lanark Village – a church which my grandfather helped to construct. Sacred Heart and St. Patrick’s were clustered in the same Archdiocese – which is located in Kingston, Ontario. The Staffords have a long history of service with the House of Providence within the Kingston Archdiocese, both nuns and priests. It might be helpful to contact the Kingston Archdiocese – 390 Palace Road, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, K7L 4T3, 613-548-4461, as they may be able to shed more light on this for you.

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